Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The Grind to paint minis...

Sometimes, there is a call to action...
The players, who know you are a SCI-FI gamemaster, with a hundred or so SCI-FI fully painted miniatures, say... "hey, can you GM a fantasy game?"

So I take the players on and of course, my miniature collection has very, very few Fantasy figures.

So, I went to my local store and pick out a set of minis that look like the players characters... then I collect up Gnolls, Orcs, Goblins... a giant, an Ogre... 30+ some odd miniatures later, you have a problem when game time is a week away and you hold down a full time job and you got a family as well.

Well, the only solution is to stylize... and so I have, Statuesque Miniatures.

So we mount our subject onto a 25mm base, this being a Barbarian Gal from Reaper bones...

and we mix up a bit of milliput to blend out the mini-base to the miniature, I usually do this in batches, getting as many miniatures based as possible. This stuff is sticky and messy on your fingers. It does dry rather quickly and rock hard. A couple of hours tops.

I try to get the appearance of rough ground on these bases so you squish it onto the base with fingers, then use a dental tool to help mash it on solid... and damp down with my fingers to pat it down evenly.

A grey primer works, I'm also trying to match the natural grey color of the Wizkids minis, fresh out of the package. This bones figure needs to look like a grey Wizkid mini... note the other minis and the effect I'm going for.

After the base primer is dry, it resembles the same grey as the others, time to wash it.
I use a combo of black primer, Airbrush Thinner and Airbrush flow improver (All Vallejo as well).

And with a final dusting of grey once again as a drybrush...
Looks good enough to tabletop for now...
All the minis are painted like this and when I finally have time to mass-paint all of these, I'll break out the colored paints and go at it. They are ready for color when the time comes.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Building Worlds... D&D and all RPG's

So there has been a lot of "outsiders" looking into RPG's in general and displaying their disdain for the genre. Outsider: meaning someone with very limited information on how RPG's work, feeling that what is written in the rules is LAW, and have contempt for any "triggering" content.

The DM/GM has to read his participants, gauging what will promote situations in the game, resulting in the participants resolving the situation, resulting in catharsis.
It's part of the DM/GM's job to create something that "triggers" the participants, so they play with an emotional attachment to resolve.

Without this, the game becomes a theme-park and the goal is XP... which leads to the game being dismissive and unmemorable.

NPC's are the DM/GM's tools to evoke conflicts or aid in such conflicts. They must portray a persona that comes from the imagination of what a good villain or commoner in the imagined world would be.
Many DM/GM's will use voice acting and even accents to portray these NPC's.

I once had a game of Space 1889, Victorian, Jules Verne era Sci-fi.
One of the most beloved NPC's I made was the manservant Gungi Jim, companion to the lead player's character, the very British, Matthew Cross.
I used a pseudo India influenced accent to bring the NPC to life.
Cross was eventually joined with a US Gunslinger and a Canadian Inventor (no longer remember the characters names, this was back when the game first came out in the 80's)
Cross' main antagonist was Danton Mignon Monet... a French aristocrat, that was attempting to woo Cross' love-interest Miss Stephanie.

Monet was based on the powder poof white-wigged Casanova, complete with white makeup and fake beauty mark... and he was a bondage fanatic... (I knew this would really, REALLY irk the RL player).

Stephanie's kidnapping and the search for ancient treasures in the Amazon ruined cities (complete with giant scorpions, pythons, and giant Cyclopian-Centaurs... French mercenaries under Monet's command...
THIS was the most memorable campaign for all the players involved. and is STILL talked about to this day almost 40 years later.

With the incursion of SJW policing, how would you then re-create this masterpiece of brain-candy?

No matter what the SJW's write within the rule books... Roleplaying games are not chained to the rules. Any mechanics system that players gravitate towards, will be used to invent new worlds with all kinds of "triggering" tropes, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Even the setting promoted (Faerun/Sword Coast, Ravenloft. Theros...) will be torn asunder by DM's that will cannibalize the parts they deem fit for their group and add their own twists and creative ingenuity. Making EVERY world different and diverse in their own way through the gameplay between participants in the game. 

Take heed readers, that you are empowered to create ANYTHING you want, if you have the audience/participants willing to interact with it. You can use any "trigger" to have at your disposal to give participants, for the best game experience possible.
The players will either enjoy it or leave it for another game suited for their tastes.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Mythic Odysseys of Theros

So I got my hands on the Kevin Tong Foil cover (I really wish they would also have a Tong non-foil option, as the foil isn't the most vibrant, but it matches my 3 book foil set)

Regardless, the contents of this 256 page volume is to replicate somewhat the Greek-style of heroic mythologies...extracting the misogyny... turning it into a bland paste of what could be an epic.
It will be truly, up to you as the DM, to muscle this one up.

The extras are the Centaur's, Saytr's, Leonin's, Minotaur's and Triton's.
If they were to really make this good, I would have Muse's replace Triton, and Demi-god replacing Minotaur's... so you could have diety-touched players (Akin to Perseus or Kira from Xanadu)
A missed opportunity for real-couples to be a power team.

Playing a Minotaur? ok... but it's not the cursed villain of Greek Epics...

The world of Theros is very VERY basic 19 pages of exposition, which feels like a Flash Gordon theme park ride. (Here be the land of  Bull headed people, here be the land of Lion headed people... and here be water world of the Fish people...)

It's not all a miss though. There are a lot of cool ideas on running a Greek-Epic using the strands given for adventure ideas (which I like) and with a clever DM, you could really turn this setting into something great.
I feel like this was only a teaser for a larger archive to come (if it passes muster to the masses).

There was also a 2 sided handout (for free from my local game-store) with laminated maps from within the book. Great for dry erase or overhead-projector pens (aka wet-erase)

A little small for anything except reference... but cool.

The art throughout is a mix of cool and meh... flavors of  Colin Ferrell's Alexander with pretty boys with hands in each other's hair... fine if you are into that, I'm not here to judge you.
If you want pictures of Hercules manliness, you get to look at muscle-Minotaurs... there are a few pics of heroic looking warriors, but most are bland in stature.
You get a few beasts in the bestiary to play around with, Nymphs are more like elemental's than womanly seducers, so crush that one...
The God's theme is pretty good and worthy of some game-play. It's got its own set of rules on death and possibly coming back which brings in conflict with the order... which I feel is cool enough to use.

So... it's not a fail for my uses. I like some of the plot ideas and rules of the gods, and some of the beasts are great. I just really wished they gave more flesh to the land regions with more culture... but it's enough to get a DM started. I'd probably homebrew with my own map of the world and create my own flavors of diverse human cultures (instead of warrior-ish ones and the stagnant knowledgeable ones) 

How to fix? First off, you want the players to become the legends. So nuke the expositions, create a clean slate of several civilizations, with the common thread of the same gods. Create a few legends of gods vs gods and perhaps about some of the nightmares spawned through these ancient clashes.
Now you need a common enemy, evil-god decides to guide his/her champion of doom to thwart the good-guys (steals the kings daughter, going to be fed to the kraken in x amount of days... some sort of trope like that.). Now the players must become the Perseus/Hercules/Achilles/Udysseus... of the EPIC that must travel unknown lands to the edge of the world to gather the items fabled to destroy the evil...
You need to make the players feel like they are writing the legend to come, not some Discount-Jason and the Argonauts following in what already has been done by some other epic hero in the past.
The Hero must have an enemy
The Hero must search for a weakness in the enemy by following possible leads (oracles, seers... way out in forbidden territories) for these secrets, they must do some possibly questionable bidding.
The Hero and his/her troupe of talented daredevils decide what leads to take and what legendary items to quest for to stop the evil enemy...

The KEY is you don't want the players hearing the deri-do of "Herseus" (the great hero and his band) doing this and that and stopping the kraken bla bla blah... YOU WANT the players themselves to BE the "Herseus and his band" and they must travel an epic for themselves, so that generations to come will write poems and songs about their deeds...

Monday, 27 July 2020

Hating the New Layout... and more... C&C Campaign

So... I'd like to say, I'm not a bit fan of this new editing layout.
But I guess blogger has forced us to use it.

I've been busy working on my group TTRPG, which is Castles & Crusades, revamped version of the original "L" series starting with the Secret of Bone Hill.
Perhaps one of the worst layouts for a module. Try being a DM for that and locate the caves under the Abandoned Guard post section... You definitely need sticky tabs.

Well, so far the adventurers arrived in town, their mission was to bring a poisoned hero to the Abby to be cured of his ailment. [I needed a way to get them to Restenford from their last location in a homebrew].

The group consists of a Male Human Thief, Male Elvish Paladin, Male Human Wizard and Female Elvish Barbarian.
After stopping at the Tavern of the West Wind, they learn of the Abby's location, and heard a rumor about a missing farmers daughter, a youngster. 
On their way to the Abbey, crossing the bridge, the Thief of the party noticed a smell of death in the air, and a silver locket in the mud.
He further investigates, finding a small cave opening in the bushes...
They party takes note, but keeps on wards towards the Abbey, the poisoned hero is unconscious and wains.

Leaving their wounded friend to the acolytes of Phaulkon, they head back to find the cave.
Encountering a horde of giant rats and some undead (Zombies and Ghouls), they managed to fight off most of them, however the Wizard was hurt badly and out of spells, enough for them to make a retreat.

Returning to the West Wind to tell their tale to the interest of the town guards and Haki (whom they befriended). The exchange of information led to the townsfolk relaying the information to the parents of the missing girl... with a good nights rest, the party made their way to the Abbey to get more supplies.
The guards entrusted Mark with the group, as a representative of the Baron's men... a young brash fighter who will report back to the Baron on what the party finds.

Eventually using the time of the tides to their advantage (I had the caves flooded on their first attempt, but Haki's advice to go while the tide was low, made for a less scary event) They managed to kill all the undead and discovered the grizzly murder scene... the girl was used in some dark ritual.

The players returned to the West Wind with the tragic news, and receive further news that the mother is at the family farm, but the father is also now missing. The Guards work out a plan for the Guard post and there is some talk about the players using the loaction as a home-base once the Priests of Phalkon cleanse the area, and some arrangements are made to see the Baron for consent on the property.

That is where we left off (Game on again for next Saturday night)

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Numenera Limited Edition Card-box (Storage box)

So, I got this package Monday, and it looked like there would be some bad damage to it as the corner of the package was dented in... luckily, the corner hit was minor on the actual storage box.

This is the Numenera Limited Edition storage solution for your Numenera cards.
I think I have every card deck except for the random salvage deck. You've seen my collection already on a post below. I thought I might even get in my TheStrange card decks as well in this, which could work if I remove all the dividers. As it stands with dividers, It would probably give me just enough room if I also had the salvage deck.

There are 4 mini-boxes within. A pull-ribbon is glued in the center with the loose ends coming out of the edges. Makes it a lot easier to get out your boxes, as it's snug.

Well, this works much better than having upright cards in the old box. I can store my cards properly now in my bookshelf. Well done MCG. Lucky for me, when I got my TheStrange box-set, there was a coupon inside that takes $10US off an item in the MCG store.
The Box lists at $29.99US, so $19.99 + shipping was ok by me.

The box is sturdy and seems well made. Artwork was smoothly laminated on each box and looks great, no creases or smears... fantastic job.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Tome of the Unclean (Castles&Crusades)

This is 111 pages of traditional old-school Demons and Devils to wage war against in your C&C role-playing games. It's the standard fare that you would find in any 1e tome of monsters and then some.
The Illustrations are fair, and not excessive. You get a lot of lore notes with each monster and it's all in Black & White (color cover). I received this as a bonus item included with my kickstarter pledge back in 2017.
My players have yet to reach higher levels, however this will come in handy later with my re-imagining of the "L"series in my home game. 
Is it worth getting?
It's alright, it's got a lot of "in aihdre" notes throughout in case you play the campaign. The little side-story, A Paladin in Hell, was kinda lame, lol... It's won't win any awards...
The monsters are plenty though 82 in this volume.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

The Master's Tome (GM screens)

Fairly inexpensive, the Master's Tome screens are a 4 panel (double-sided clear slots) GM's screen that stands upright (not on the long-side, like 5E D&D screens).

This works for me with my TRAVELLER games or something else that I do not have a screen for.

It's a little hard to insert standard paper, buy the printable cardstock to use as insert paper, the sleeves are a tight fit.
They seem to be built like a traditional school-binder cover material, so I'm not 100% certain of the lifespan of folding, but I suspect it will last a year (like a school-binder would before it cracks apart).
We will see over time how long this lasts, I'll post in the comments section sometime in the future, when it finally fails.